December 26 — aka Boxing Day — is a date most football fans will have circled in their dairies.
That is, of course, because it is the return of the 2022-23 Premier League season — and many will be kicking back to enjoy the likes of Brentford v Tottenham Hotspur, Aston Villa v Liverpool and table-toppers Arsenal playing host to West Ham United.
For some of the English top flight managers, the early stages of the second half of this season is do or die — as their respective sides have flattered to deceive thus far this campaign. With that in mind, read on as we take a look at a few of the managers who will be feeling hot under the collar as the Premier League resumes.
A manager spared more time than he perhaps deserves, many Evertonians will argue that Frank Lampard should have been sacked a long time ago — never mind somehow managing to survive the stoppage for World Cup in Qatar.
Everton have been mediocre at best since Lampard replaced Rafael Benitez last January, surviving relegation by the skin of their teeth late last season. They haven’t fared much better this year — sitting just one point above the drop zone after 15 games.
Aside from a trip to the Etihad to face Man City on New Year’s Eve, the Toffees have a manageable run in the first month back — hosting Wolves, Brighton and Southampton on top of a trip to struggling West Ham. If Lampard can’t turn it around with crucial points in those games, then he’ll likely be out the door.
Another gaffer who could be counting their blessings after making it through the break for the World Cup, David Moyes is the second favourite to be the next manager sacked if you’re looking for a betting prediction on football.
West Ham seem to suffering from a hangover after last season’s highs, in which they finished a respectable seventh in the Premier League table and reached the semi-finals of the Europa League — ultimately losing to eventual winners Eintracht Frankfurt.
The Hammers will be far from pleased with how this campaign has gone though, as they also sit just one point above the relegation zone. Three successive defeats before the World Cup stoppage was arguably justifiable form for Moyes’ sacking, so the Scot might be treading on eggshells.
Further up the table, things turned sour for Graham Potter after an unbeaten start to life at Stamford Bridge — as Chelsea failed to win any of their final five Premier League games, while they were also knocked out of the Carabao Cup by Manchester City.
While that is way below the high standards set in west London, the bookmakers might be clinging on to Chelsea’s infamous record of sacking managers under previous owner Roman Abramovich — because it is believed Todd Boehly and company still have full faith in the former Brighton man.
Indeed, the American got rid of fan favourite Thomas Tuchel early in his tenure. But it was clear the pair clashed and Potter was his hand-picked replacement. Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, Fulham and Nottingham Forest are winnable games in Chelsea’s first six back, but the big testers are Manchester City and Liverpool.
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